By Osman Sultan Ali
The people of Eastern Somaliland face the severest drought in nearly 100 years. Their livestock have already been decimated. The inhabitants are starving and may soon die in large numbers unless a massive aid intervention is undertaken now.
However, Mr. Hussein Abdi Dualeh, the Minister for Energy and Natural Resources, has recently embarked on a misinformation campaign to deliberately mislead clans in the designated areas – Saraar Valley and Daadmadheedh – for a seismic oil survey by a Chinese company, BMB.
The Minister and his minions have planted seeds of disunity and discord among the people to weaken their resolve in order to resist this outrageous and shameless stampede to complete the survey before the presidential elections in 2017.
It has reliably been reported in the local press that Genel Energy would not release millions of dollars to the Silanyo government until the survey is completed and all relevant data be released. Hence the rush to get the job done quickly and at all costs, notwithstanding the immense suffering of the inhabitants.
Obviously, the Minister has not learned anything from the fiasco of 2013 when Genel Energy abruptly and inexplicably pulled out of Somaliland ostensibly for security concerns. Mismanagement, nepotism and rampant corruption might have been other reasons for its departure.
A few years later, President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) publicly conceded that mistakes were made during the oil exploration operations. He assured the public that their grievances would be taken into account, and mistakes would be rectified before further operations were undertaken.
Unfortunately, these promises were never fulfilled. Since his appointment to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in 2010, Mr. Dualeh has run the department as his fiefdom. He does not consult the Council of Ministers and thoroughly ignores the hapless parliament.
He flies to Peking, London, Dubai and Washington, D.C. to singlehandedly negotiate with big corporation executives and their slew of attorneys, accountants and other experts to strike lopsided agreements that invariably put Somaliland at a disadvantage. The Minister is so secretive that reportedly only a few people know anything of these agreements with foreign oil companies and other natural resources entities. He has repeatedly declined to share any detailed information with the people’s representatives and the press, much less the public.
Now the worse is about to begin in Saraar Valley, where Minister Hussein sent a large police and military force to intimidate and terrorize the starving inhabitants in the area so they wouldn’t challenge his immoral, scandalous and heartless efforts to start the seismic oil survey.
We, Somalilanders in the diaspora, commend President Silanyo, a true nationalist and a peacemaker, the parliament, the council of elders, the political parties, traditional leaders, and the public at large for establishing and keeping peace and stability in the country. They all deserve our appreciation, gratitude and support.
Unfortunately, Minister Hussein and his cohorts have pursued efforts that surely will destabilize Somaliland and lead to its eventual Balkanization. He behaves and acts like a dictator of the country.
Therefore, it is imperative that the people of Somaliland rise up to the occasion by starting a vigorous, peaceful campaign nationwide to compel the government to postpone all oil exploration efforts anywhere in the country until the people get relief from this calamitous drought. The suffering of almost the entire population must be alleviated before anything else including holding elections. Obviously, the dying cannot vote and the starving would care less about voting.
Hence, the people should insist that Minister Hussein Abdi Dualeh either voluntarily resign, or that President Silanyo immediately fire him in order to save the country and his own legacy.
By:Osman Sultan Ali
Horn of Africa Journal, Founder